Just a few hours ago Larry Page concluded the keynote for Google I/O 2013. It was an exciting event, not only because this was the first year Apartment Therapy was invited to attend the annual developers conference for all things Google, but also because it's amongst the most anticipated showcase events for technologies likely to change consumer markets. We've rounded up all the biggest announcements revealed today...
While news of Google's plans to offer the LTE Samsung Galaxy S4 with stock Android 4.2 unlocked for $649 for both AT&T and T-Mobile beginning June 26th drew the most enthused applause from attendees at Google I/O, the rest of Wednesday's keynote revolved around the expansion of Google's core social network and information services: Music, Google+, Search, and Maps.
Google Play Music All Access: Google made it clear it's taking aim at music subscription services like Rdio and Spotify, upgrading their Google Play music service with "a uniquely Google approach." It's all about recommendations. Google leverages what it already knows about you, your friends, and what you've listened to and loved, all to serve up "music that we know you're going to love." And trust us, Google knows plenty of our online habits to make this work.
Google Play Music All Access will work with your existing library of music, as well as the millions of songs in the vast library accessible the Google streaming service, offered for $9.99 a month (free 30 day trial). Where can you access it? Your computer and mobile. When? Now.
Google+: There was a bevy of news surrounding Google+, specifically new updates to the social network's incorporation of photography and communication. We'll go into more detail about both of these features as we get more hands-on time using them, but suffice to say, Google thinks the way we chat, text, and video should be better, with changes made for taking, managing, and viewing photos simplified in a user experience that shares a lot of visual layout to popular image sharing site, Pinterest.
To accomplish the communication piece, Google introduced Hangouts, an app for the web, iOS, and Android available today. With this app in hand, conversations can be extended indefinitely across devices and text chats can be easily transformed into group video conversations. Hangouts has some handy features to make text chatting seem more interactive and "face-to-face", but will this be enough to bring people into the Google+ fold?
From the photography front, Google broke news into four pieces: Backup, Highlight, Enhance, and Auto-Awesome, all of which are also available today. Highlight helps you to find the best photos that you uploaded, Enhance works to democratise photo editing by making it easier to salvage over or underexposed images and other edits usually done in software like Lightroom or Aperture. Auto-Awesome is all about adding that extra bit of fun with add-on effects, Motion, Mix, HDR, Smile, and Pano.
Search: Google's biggest change to their search experience is the implementation of conversational search and hot wording. What's hot wording? It's the act of speaking to your device to activate search or input text. What's impressive is how effective this new feature is with understand ing specifically what you're saying and utilizing Google's Knowledge Graph to pinpoint what you're looking for.
During the search demo, VP of Mobile Joanna Wright showed conversational search in action by asking her Nexus 4 for information around an upcoming trip to Santa Cruz. The power and specificity of Google's search ability was highlighted when she asked, "how far is it from here?". Google Search knew exactly what she was asking and where she was without having to input any location.
Google Maps: This year's keynote delivered a refreshed look for Google Maps, both in the app edition (iOS & Android) and web (available to I/O attendees today and for the rest of the world soon). Big improvements to public transit directions have been added, including a handy new schedule viewer, custom on-the-fly generated maps around people and places, integrated offers for restaurants and retailers, and a Google Earth experience just to name a few. Needless to say the new Google Maps is a big leap forward so stay tuned for our thoughts once we get some hands-on time.
Finally, here's your chance to experience everything we saw from the Google I/O 2013 keynote this morning, all from the comfort of your task chair, couch, or bed below:
(Images: Joelle Alcaidinho; Google)
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